Divorces can be emotionally and financially challenging, especially when it comes to the division of assets and liabilities. In Florida, the process of property division during a divorce is based on a principle called “equitable distribution.” This means that marital assets and debts are divided in a fair and just manner. However, it’s important to note that equitable does not necessarily mean equal.
Understanding Equitable Distribution in Florida
In Florida, the division of marital assets and liabilities is governed by Florida Statute 61.075. This law outlines the process and principles that guide the courts in determining a fair distribution of property during a divorce. The court begins with the presumption that property division should be equal, meaning a 50/50 split. However, this presumption can be overcome if there are justifiable reasons for an unequal distribution based on various factors.
Factors Considered in Equitable Distribution and Property Division
When deciding on property division, the court takes into account several factors outlined in Florida Statute 61.075. These factors include:
- Contribution to the marriage: The court considers the contributions made by each spouse to the marriage, including contributions to the care and education of children and services as a homemaker. This includes both financial and non-financial contributions.
- Economic circumstances: The court examines the financial circumstances of each spouse, including their income, earning capacity, and financial resources. This helps ensure that the division is fair and takes into account each spouse’s ability to support themselves after the divorce.
- Duration of the marriage: The length of the marriage is an important factor in determining the division of assets. Generally, the longer the marriage, the more likely it is that the division will be equal. However, this is not always the case, as other factors also come into play.
- Interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities: If one spouse has experienced an interruption in their career or education due to the marriage, the court may take this into consideration when dividing assets. This ensures that the spouse who made sacrifices for the marriage is not unfairly disadvantaged.
- Contribution to personal career or education: The court considers the contributions made by one spouse to the personal career or education of the other spouse. This recognizes the value of supporting a spouse’s professional growth and development during the marriage.
- Desirability of retaining certain assets: The court takes into account the desirability of retaining certain assets, such as a family business or the marital home, especially if there are dependent children involved. The well-being of the children is an important consideration in determining the division of assets.
Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property
In Florida, only marital property is subject to equitable property division. Marital property refers to assets and debts acquired during the course of the marriage, regardless of how they are titled or owned. On the other hand, non-marital property, also known as separate property, includes assets that were owned by either spouse before the marriage or acquired through gifts or inheritances.
It’s important to note that the distinction between marital and non-marital property division can sometimes be complex. For example, if separate property has been commingled with marital assets or used for the benefit of the marriage, it may be considered marital property subject to division. Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can help clarify the classification of assets and ensure a fair division.
The Role of Divorce Attorneys in Equitable Distribution
Divorces involving the property division of assets can be complicated and emotionally charged. That’s why it’s crucial to seek the guidance of a skilled divorce attorney who specializes in family law. A divorce attorney will help protect your rights, advocate for your interests, and ensure that the division of assets is fair and reasonable.
Experienced divorce attorneys have a deep understanding of Florida divorce laws and can provide valuable advice on how to navigate the equitable distribution process. They will work closely with you to gather all relevant financial information, assess the value of assets, and negotiate on your behalf to achieve a favorable property division outcome.
Additionally, divorce attorneys often collaborate with expert witnesses, such as forensic accountants, appraisers, and social investigators, to provide objective assessments of complex financial matters. These professionals can provide crucial insights and evidence to support your case, ensuring a fair property division.
Property Division Divorce Attorney
Divorce can be a challenging and overwhelming experience, especially when it comes to dividing marital assets and liabilities. Understanding the principles of equitable distribution and working with a skilled divorce attorney is essential to ensure a fair and just property division. By considering factors such as the contributions made by each spouse, the economic circumstances, and the duration of the marriage, the court strives to achieve a property division that is equitable for both parties.
At the Rivas Law Firm, our Orlando divorce attorneys have the expertise and commitment to guide you through the complexities of Florida divorce law. We provide compassionate support, top-notch advocacy, and legal representation to help you achieve the best possible division of marital assets. Contact us at 407-644-2466 for a free consultation and let us assist you in navigating the equitable distribution process with confidence.